March 7, 2020

Tips to Survive an Interview

In today’s day and age having a career is one thing, but landing that job and getting perks is another. If it’s not stressful enough to be sending out application after application, it gets worse when you finally hear back from someone since we become used to rejection and lack of contact. The Interview could be one of the most stressful parts about applying for and getting a job. People make up their minds about you in less than 10 seconds when you introduce yourself.

A good interview, is more science than it is being qualified, in part, this is why some of the top hiring managers in the most successful companies tend to ask questions that have nothing to do with the job. It’s cognitive thinking and rating who you are.

So if reception offers you a glass of water, take it. Be appreciative, don’t be stand-offish. If they’re trying to talk to you, it could be a plan, talk back and don’t sit down. If you’re directed to have a seat somewhere keep the best posture of your life and get ready to master a firm and professional (and dry) handshake and try to avoid using the following words.

  1. Intelligent – You very well could be intelligent, you may think you are, and people may think you are. Intelligence is less about actually being smart and more about perceived value of being smart. It’s a judgement call and people need to think you are. Saying you’re intelligent comes off as arrogant and subconsciously puts people on the defensive and thinking the opposite. The best way to better your brand is to avoid it and word things in a way that people will assume you are.
  2. Likable – If you describe yourself to anyone as likable, think about it, you once again come off kind of arrogant and end up looking weird when trying to prove why you used that. This also takes away from why you’re the right person for the job.
  3. Successful and a Leader – These come together, because they’re both so commonly used and have the same effect. We all want to think we’re leaders and successful and destined for something great, but are you really trying to tell your potential future boss that you’re already ready to take their job? Let’s also jump right back to arrogance for a bit. Unless you’re interviewing for an executive role, you’re at a job interview, are you currently successful? Why do you need their job?
  4. Obsessive – People think it’s a good idea to say they care too much, are articulated with work, or obsess about the job and make sure everything is perfect – BIG MISTAKE! In today’s world and having to be politically correct, etc… Well, we aren’t in the 50s. businesses rely on Good Enough more than they rely on perfect, and because of work/life balance rules and overtime laws it scares people when you say this. Life isn’t what it used to be.
  5. Go-to Person – We’ve all said this and we’ve all made this mistake. You’re not a go-to person, we know it, they know it, and you know it. Some people you work with may ask for help and you may do more than you need to, but you’re not the go-to person, while we’re at it; don’t say you work so hard you skip lunch either.


Now that we’ve covered a few things you shouldn’t say, we should focus on marketing yourself during this process, which I already touched a little on above. Self-image is very important, but even if you dress to the nines, body language and how you respond are just important. Here’s a few more self marketing tips:

Related Post - Ep. 05 — Roy Reid, APR, CPRC

  1. Listen – I don’t mean listen to them and reply, I mean learn to listen. Take it in. This is more about analysis and listening for hot or key words than it is consoling a friend. Part of marketing is sales, and part of self-marketing is worth. You need to analyze what someone says, reply to everything they mention so they actually understand and get the impression you’re a good listener, and pick up on things others won’t. Listen for future plans or a passive issue/problem they bring up while talking to you and mention it.
  2. Google – The most wonderful thing on the planet, we can all agree. Do research and come in with facts. One of the first questions I’ve always been asked is “Why do you want to work here?”, followed by “What do you know about us and what we do?”, thanks to the power of Google you’ll have information to present yourself with. Again, think marketing, they don’t need a back story or the history because that looks like you googled and memorized information. With perceived value you want to know enough to make you look educated and aware of them, but not like you stayed up googling it the night before. Perhaps mention a recent news article of the company.
  3. Learn to get maximum results with minimal costs and effort – This isn’t about being lazy or cheap. Everyone is on a budget and today we live in a world where we can replace people with machines. Record profits and Billions aren’t enough anymore and it’s important you prove your worth to even keep your job. If you show you’re versed and can multitask (one of the reasons products and productivity are so bad despite its name), and you have your ear to the ground on social media then you can help maximize results. If you learn to market yourself and can give yourself a high perceived value, while keeping your online presence the exact same then you’re a marketer. There isn’t much to teach as people will build an idea and image of and about you. Just like using large words and carefully choosing how to speak forms an image, so does ROI and online presence. Think big, act small.
  4. Make better decisions – Sounds easy? Wrong. most decisions people make are based off instinct and feelings, and that’s wrong. An uneducated decision, is a wrong decision. Listen to the market you’re trying to attack or break into, research what they use and what’s needed, look at standards, read analytics, and check the news out at least once a week to see the world around you and outside your personal bubble. Only then can you innovate, make real changes, and decide with an informed opinion. People also hate those who argue fact, don’t be that person.
  5. PLAN PLAN PLAN! – be ready. Self-Marketing, image, and landing a job is all about planning. Know more than your opponent, but never show it. Ever. Why would you walk in on a first meeting and reveal everything? Think about it.

Feel like you’re ready to tackle an interview and land that dream job? These are just tips, it’s up to you to execute and see what happens. just remember, that a good candidate and a good interview is just like a good politician and a good speech, or TV Interview. Avoid stuttering and saying “UM” at all costs. This sounds easier than it is. People don’t realize they look away, break eye contact (don’t), and say um. Study, practice, and record yourself if it helps. Learn to speak slower, clearer, and think as it goes. You will drastically improve and form a habit of speech in person as well which again builds up your value and image. People who speak well seem to come from better families and seem more educated and valued. people give you respect for no reason at that point and always think positive things of you. Learn to speak and think before things are said. It’s not easy, but it can be done, you just have to hear and understand it first.

Related Article: Ep. 04 — Jeff Stanford

Once eyes are opened to these types of things you’ll notice it more regularly and start to correct the issues and in turn think higher of yourself, which increases value. Think about your current position or workplace. How many speedy talkers are leaders or in meetings a lot? How many CEOs do you see with a sleeve of tattoos? There’s always exceptions, but we live in a world of fact and mediocrity. it’s better to join the herd in certain things to better your life, then to try to standout and never make anything.

The last thing I can recommend is to stop using the word “very”. It’s just as bad as um. In an effort to help increase vocabulary, and avoid the word, I have found the below chart for you, good luck and go get that job!

You might also find the following post interesting - Ep. 06 — Kelly-Anne Suarez - Break Into Public Relations